The fencing team opened its season with a bang Saturday afternoon at McGonigle Hall for the 31st annual Temple Open.
Led by senior captain Audrey Barroso, the team nearly swept the winner’s stands, finishing first in two of the three events, while taking second place in the third.
“We were very pleased,” coach Nikki Franke said.
Senior captain Audrey Barroso won the sabre event, freshman Epiphany Georges won the foil event, and freshman Chantel Montrose took second in the epee event.
Not only did Franke guide her team to an impressive showing with seven total finalists, but she also organized the entire event herself.
“It takes a lot of work during an event of this size,” Franke said. “Total, we had 550 fencers compete throughout this weekend between the men and the women.”
“It’s a huge tournament. It’s a lot of work for [assistant] coach [Bradley] Baker and I, but it’s always very satisfying to know that we provided a quality tournament with fencers from all over the East Coast,” Franke added. “We have 36 different schools represented here.”
While the success of the tournament was satisfying for Franke, so was the performance of her freshmen.
“It’s very nice since it was their first collegiate tournament so that’s a good memory for them to have,” Franke said.
Tasia Ford, another Temple freshman, took sixth place in the sabre, while junior Alyssa Lomuscio and sophomore Mikayla Varadi placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the foil. Junior Jill Bratton tied for third behind Montrose in the epee event.
“We’re still learning and growing together as a unit, but we’re pleased with what the girls did this weekend in their first tournament of the season,” Franke said. “Now we can see what things we need to work on as we prepare for the major part of the season, but it’s a good start for us.”
Although Franke has built one of the top fencing programs in the nation with 600 career wins, she said winning at home is always a treat for the team.
“You never get used to it, and it’s something you always hope for,” Franke said. “We tend to do well in this tournament. This is our home base, and so it’s always nice to do well at home. I think it’s especially important to the girls to do well if they have family and friends here cheering them on.”
The team will continue to enjoy this success at home before preparing to hit the road next week for the first time this season.
“We have a similar tournament next week at Penn State, so that is going to be a big test for us,” Franke said. “We’ll see about half of the same schools and a lot of the Midwest schools, so we’re going to see some different people. We’ll see how that works out.”
Jeffrey Janiczek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.